Hinduja and Another v Asia TV Limited: CA 25 Nov 1997

The procedure for determining whether words were defamatory was intended to be summary; appeals are to be discouraged. The new rule was intended to lay down a swift and inexpensive procedure in chambers to eliminate meanings which the words are plainly incapable of bearing. Hirst LJ said: ‘I would strongly wish to discourage appeals under O.82,r.3A on which the decision seems to me to lie essentially within the province of the judge in chambers. This rule is intended to lay down a swift and inexpensive procedure in chambers to eliminate meanings which the words are plainly incapable of bearing.’
Held: it is quite clear, in my judgment, that the crucial question at the present juncture is not what meaning the words do bear, which will be a question for the jury to decide at the trial, but rather what meaning the words are capable of bearing i.e. whether the meaning pleaded in the defence was one which the average viewer could have derived from the programme. I would say at once that it is by no means improbable that the jury will conclude, in line with Mr. Price’s submissions before us today, that the sting does lie in the reference to the Bank of England’s involvement. But having considered the words carefully, I am by no means satisfied that that is an inevitable conclusion, nor am I satisfied that the defendants’ more restricted meaning is one which the jury must necessarily conclude the words are incapable of bearing; in my judgment, the real sting, in the eyes of the reasonable one-off viewer as a matter of first impression, may well lie in the imputation that the grounds for suspicion are in themselves sufficiently credible.’
Hirst, Henry LJJ and Harman J
Times 12-Dec-1997, [1997] EWCA Civ 2824, [1998] EMLR 516
Rules of the Supreme Court Order 82 Rule 3A
England and Wales
CitedSkuse v Granada Television CA 30-Mar-1993
The claimant complained that the defendant had said in a television programme that he had failed to act properly when presenting his expert forensic evidence in court in the trial of the Birmingham Six.
Held: The court should give to the . .
CitedLewis v Daily Telegraph Ltd HL 1964
Ascertaining Meaning of Words for Defamation
The Daily Telegraph had published an article headed ‘Inquiry on Firm by City Police’ and the Daily Mail had published an article headed ‘Fraud Squad Probe Firm’. The plaintiffs claimed that those articles carried the meaning that they were guilty of . .

Cited by:
CitedGeenty v Channel Four Television Corporation and Jessel CA 13-Jan-1998
The claimant police officer appealed against dismissal of his claim in defamation.
Held: The words were capable of implicating the plaintiff in the neglect, they were also capable of implicating him in the accusation of maltreatment. The claim . .
CitedLoveless v Earl; Capital and Counties (Financial Services) Limited CA 4-Nov-1998
When a defendant claimed qualified privilege and the Plaintiff alleged that the words complained of were issued with malice, the defendant will not prevented from reliance on qualified privilege if it can show that the words have an honestly . .
CitedGillick v Brook Advisory Centres and Another CA 23-Jul-2001
The claimant appealed after closing her action for an alleged defamation by the respondents in a leaflet published by them. She challenged an interim decision by the judge as to the meaning of the words complained of.
Held: The leaflet made . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 26 April 2021; Ref: scu.143223